In Jerusalem: At David Citadel’s Scala – Chef Oren Yerushalmi Hosts Ilan Garusi

When it comes to our birthdays, Jay and I strive to make the celebration as memorable as possible.  For several years now Scala has been our “go-to restaurant” for my birthday dinner.  This year was extra special in that we made reservations for the evening of 27 February 2014 when Scala’s Chef Oren Yerushalmi hosted Chef Ilan Garusi.  We enjoyed a spectacular eight course meal prepared by the two chefs accompanied by four outstanding wines from the Flam Winery. 
The meal opened with a group of seven mezes of which the black eggplant cream and chopped liver were the best. The mezes were accompanied by Flam Rose 2013, an unusual very dry and floral unoaked Rose composed of 80% Cabernet Franc, 17% Syrah and 3% Cabernet Sauvignon blend all grown in the Judean Hills. 
This was followed by a demi-tasse of velvety smooth Jerusalem artichoke soup with a sprinkling of roasted, crushed pistachios.  We strongly suspect that chef used a reduced wild mushroom stock adding extra layers of depth to the soup.  Our wine glass was refilled with Rose.
At this point we were joined by Gefen from the Flam Winery, who provided us with an excellent history and general description of the winery and wines.  She poured our next glass which was Flam Blanc 2013, a blend of 55% Sauvignon Blanc and 45% Chardonnay, unoaked. This wine had hints of citrus on the nose and was dry and crisp on the palate with overtones of passion fruit, grapefruit and the lightest hint of guava.  This perfectly complemented the spicy tuna ceviche. 
Accompanying our second glass of Flam Blanc was a “sea fish kebab in a mangold and chraime sauce” which raised our suspicions more than our expectations.  It was however, a refreshing surprise to the palate, as the gentle fresh fish tastes reverberated with the spicy but not overbearing sauce. If this treat moves to the regular menu we will happily order it again.   
After the winter roots and citrus salad intermezzo, Gefen returned to our table and bringing with her Flam Classico 2011. Although this is Flam’s entry level red, it is a tantalizing Bordeaux-style red blend of Judean Hills grapes, 50% Merlot, 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot, American oaked for 10 months.  It is deep ruby red in color with ripe cherries on the nose and a complex full bodied mix of cherries and forest berries.  This was perfectly paired with the treat of the evening – a single large lamb shank ravioli with a luxurious reduced stock and non-dairy cream sauce.  This was garnished with long stemmed baby winter mushrooms.  Heaven!!!!  
Gefen, ever attentive to our interest in fine wines and recalling Jay’s visit to the winery, brought us our final wine, Flam Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2010.  She shared that the grapes come from vineyards in the Upper Galilee specifically Kerem Ben Zimra and Kerem Nahal Dishon. This dry red wine, composed of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot aged for 14 months in new French oak, was a rich, deep, opaque garnet in color. The nose was full of dark berries with hints from the humidor wafting through it. It filled the palate to the brim with dark fruit flavors, notes of dark chocolate and just a touch of remaining tannin to let us know that when we buy some we will put it down for several more years. It was marvelous.  The beef fillet in veal stock and wine with chestnuts and potato puree, while very good, didn’t hold a candle to the wine, a pity, but we happily asked Gefen to refill our glasses before moving on to our deserts which also did not compare to the wine. 
Kudos to Ruth, our waitress, and to all of the amazing staff at Scala who spoiled us with fabulous service.   
****
photo by Isa David-Ben-Rafael owned by IsraeLightly
special thanks to Jay for making this blog post possible and for co-writing it. 
for additional information about Scala please visit their site:
  
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